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Dunstone takes blame for team's performance at Olympic trials, aims to finish strong

“I just haven’t made enough,” said Dunstone, who is curling at 76 per cent, the second-lowest mark among those in the fourth position in the field. “When your skip isn’t making enough in a field like this, it’s going to show.”
DUNSTONE WEDS FEAT
Matt Dunstone of Kamloops and his Regina-based rink are 1-5 at the Tim Hortons Trials in Saskatoon.

Matt Dunstone of Kamloops will not be curling at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

Dunstone, who skips a Regina-based rink that includes third Colton Lott, second Kirk Muyres and lead Dustin Kidby, is 1-5 with two games remaining at the Tim Hortons Trials, which will wrap up on Sunday in Saskatoon.

Three victories will not be enough to see Dunstone through to the playoffs, which will produce the four-person men’s and women’s teams that will don the Maple Leaf in Beijing.

“I just haven’t made enough,” said Dunstone, who is curling at 76 per cent, the second-lowest mark among those in the fourth position in the field. “When your skip isn’t making enough in a field like this, it’s going to show.”

Team Dunstone is without regular third Braeden Moskowy, who pulled out of the event two days before it began, citing personal reasons for his withdrawal.

Lott, Moskowy’s replacement, has performed admirably, his mark of 90 per cent the second-highest curling percentage among thirds at the Trials.

“In curling, team dynamics is such a huge thing and having Braeden around for the last four years, that’s something we’ve worked really hard on,” Dunstone said.

“On the flip side, being able to bring in a familiar face like Colton, who’s fit in just great with us, is unbelievable. He’s been unbelievable, one of the best thirds in the field this week. The guys have played really well in front of me and I haven’t been able to finish.”

Lott was on a Manitoba team with Dunstone that won Canadian junior championships in 2013 and 2016.

Dunstone said the team continues to respect Moskowy’s privacy and is opting not to reveal the reason for his absence.

There have been silver linings for Dunstone, the back-to-back Brier bronze medallist who has earned a name for himself with world-class shotmaking.

Dunstone, from Winnipeg, has produced some of the shots of the tournament, including an angle-raise double and triple-raise hit that made the highlight reel.

The team broke into the win column on Wednesday, knocking off Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton 9-4 in a draw that was over after nine ends. Bottcher dropped to 1-5.

“A little too late, but better late than never,” Dunstone said. “The crowd’s been pretty supportive of us. It’s been a very tough week. It was a pretty cool moment for us to be able to hear how loud they were.”

Dunstone aims to find a groove and finish with two victories on Friday, with Jacob Horgan (1-4) of Kingston, Ont., and Jason Gunnlaugson (2-3) of Morris, Man., remaining on the slate.

“We’ve got a lot of big things ahead, like [Saskatchewan] provincials and, hopefully, the Brier,” Dunstone said. “There’s lots of curling left to figure it out. It’s the best nine teams in Canada and some of the best nine teams in the world, so 3-5 is nothing to hang your head about.”